South Africa: Eastern Cape citrus sector receives funding to boost exports

March 27 , 2015

South Africa's Eastern Cape's citrus industry has welcomed ZAR21 million (US$1.8 million) of funding to boost exports from the Amathole district, website heraldlive.co.za reported. oranges_68643514 - panorama

Eastern Cape Rural Development and Agrarian Reform Member of Executive Council (MEC), Mlibo Qoboshiyane, assigned the majority of the funding to infrastructure support at the ageing Ripplemead citrus pack house in Peddie, while smallholder citrus growers from the region will receive ZAR4 million (US$330,000).

The story said Qoboshiyane made the allocation while delivering his 2015-16 policy speech at the legislature building in the provincial capital Bhisho this week.

"The department is supporting the smallholder citrus growers with inputs of ZAR4 million in the next financial year," he was quoted as saying.

"The department will also provide infrastructure support to revitalise the ageing Ripplemead citrus pack house in Peddie to the tune of ZAR9.2 million (US$770,000) and another ZAR8 million (US$670,000) to assist farmers with production and orchard upgrades."

The department will also reportedly support 120 citrus farmers with production inputs and create an estimated 162 permanent and 1,041 seasonal jobs.

Qoboshiyane reportedly said this support would enable Ripplemead to trade directly with the EU, whereas currently the area struggles to access international markets.

Citrus Growers' Association (CGA) of Southern Africa transformation manager Lukhanyo Nkombisa said the organization welcomed the vote of confidence in the farmers.

"The Eastern Cape is the second biggest producer of citrus in the country. Citrus contributed massively to employment and the GDP of the province," Nkombisa was quoted as saying by heraldlive.co.za.

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